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All across this country in small towns, rural areas and cities, alcoholism and drug abuse are destroying the lives of men, women and their families. Where to turn for help? What to do when friends, dignity and perhaps employment are lost?

The answer is Palm Partners Recovery Center. It’s a proven path to getting sober and staying sober.

Palm Partners’ innovative and consistently successful treatment includes: a focus on holistic health, a multi-disciplinary approach, a 12-step recovery program and customized aftercare. Depend on us for help with:

What Are the Side-Effects of Methadone?

What Are the Side-Effects of Methadone?

(This content is being used for illustrative purposes only; any person depicted in the content is a model)

Author: Justin Mckibben

In the fight against opioid addiction many have turned to medication maintenance programs as a means to help them curb their substance abuse. Methadone is one of the more commonly utilized medication maintenance drugs. However, the system is not without its inherent and relatively serious risks. In fact, methadone abuse is common.

While methadone may not produce the same high in the same manner as heroin, it can be abused to cause the same effects as most opiates, including:

When considering methadone, there are a lot of reasons to do your research and make sure you fully understand how methadone is used and what the dangers are. Dosing of methadone will depend on a few factors, including:

  • Age of the individual
  • General condition and medical status of the patient
  • Other medications being taken

It is very important to note that methadone can have side-effects when interacting with other medications, such as:

  • Narcotic pain medications
  • Sedatives
  • Tranquilizers
  • Muscle relaxers
  • Medicines that can cause drowsiness or slow your breathing
  • Diuretics(water pills)
  • Antibiotics
  • Heart or blood pressure medications
  • HIV medicines
  • MAO inhibitors
  • Rifampin
  • Seizure medication

If methadone is taken with some other medicines the combination can cause serious medical problems. Looking at the side-effects of methadone, one should talk to their doctor about any other medications they take.

What Are the Side-Effects of Methadone: Common Side-Effects

Methadone is a narcotic used as a pain reliever, and is also used as part of drug addiction detoxification and maintenance programs. Methadone hydrochloride is the generic form. Common side effects of methadone hydrochloride include:

  • Nervousness
  • Restlessness
  • Sleep problems
  • Weakness
  • Drowsiness
  • Dry mouth
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Loss of appetite
  • Decreased sex drive
  • Impotence

Some of these more common side-effects may not be especially dangerous, but they can lead to much more serious complications.

What Are the Side-Effects of Methadone: Serious Side-Effects

When experiencing these serious side-effects, immediately contact your doctor or seek emergency medical treatment if you experience serious side effects of methadone hydrochloride including:

  • Confusion
  • Chest pain
  • Dizziness
  • Muscle pain or cramps
  • Bleeding gums
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Blurred vision
  • Convulsions
  • Blood in urine or stool
  • Fast or pounding heartbeat
  • Trouble breathing
  • Lightheadedness
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Sweating
  • Fainting
  • Seizures

One of the most critical mistakes many people make is assuming there is no danger in relying heavily on methadone as a means of recovery from opioid abuse. The reality is, approximately 5,000 people die due to abuse of methadone each year.

Admittedly, this is often more likely when methadone has been mixed with other substances, including alcohol and benzodiazepines. However, it is absolutely possible to overdose on methadone.

What Are the Side-Effects of Methadone: Overdose

It is possible to overdose on methadone, just as with any other powerful prescription opioid medication. Again, methadone is a narcotic and many of the overdose symptoms for methadone are the same as with other opioid medications, such as:

  • Difficulty breathing/shallow breathing
  • Hypotension (low blood pressure)
  • Twitching muscles
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • bluish fingernails and lips
  • Coma
  • Death

With drug overdose, especially with such strong substances, death is a possible side-effect. Therefore it is extremely important that all side-effects are taken seriously and that someone trying to utilize methadone consults with their doctor about the risks.

What Are the Side-Effects of Methadone: Mental Health

While the physical side-effects of methadone can be very difficult to deal with, methadone also has a tendency to cause some psychological side-effects, such as:

The truth is, these psychological side-effects can be just as serious as physical side-effects, and some people have more difficulty dealing with the psychological aspect of methadone.

Also, people who already struggle with other co-occurring mental health disorders may experience some side effects more intensely. It is important to make sure both mental and physical health is taken into account with every form of drug treatment.

What Are the Side-Effects of Methadone: Withdrawal

The reality that makes the use of methadone seem self-defeating is that methadone does indeed come with its own set of withdrawal symptoms that become more severe with prolonged use. These withdrawal symptoms are often similar to those from other opioid drugs, such as heroin. The most common withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Chills
  • Fever
  • Anxiety
  • Muscle pain and aches
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Sweating
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Stomach cramps
  • Irritability
  • Paranoia
  • Diarrhea
  • Cravings
  • Insomnia
  • Hallucinations
  • Depression

Quitting methadone “cold turkey”, meaning abruptly without a safe medical taper or detox, can cause more severe withdrawal symptoms.

What Are the Side-Effects of Methadone: Detoxing from Methadone

Detoxing from methadone is safest and most efficient when done under the supervision in a medical detox of a drug treatment facility or hospital. Most medical detoxes provide a tapering off of the drug in order to reduce the severity of withdrawals. Quitting cold turkey is much more painful and difficult to do.

Drug treatment programs like Palm Partners also utilize the combined expertise of therapists and medical physicians in order to design a personalized treatment plan in order to give the individual the best opportunity for lasting recovery, and anyone who has been using methadone for an extended period or developed a tolerance to it should pursue an inpatient treatment option. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free now.

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What Food Can Detox My Body from Drugs?

What Food Can Detox My Body from Drugs?

Author: Justin Mckibben

Detoxing after a prolonged period of substance abuse or addiction can be the hardest part of getting off drugs or alcohol. Most people want to find the easiest, quickest way to get through the process in a comfortable and healthy way. Some people assume the easiest way to cleanse their system is with a healthier diet, and so they ask- what food can detox my body from drugs?

While it is important to try and nourish your body as best you can, there may be some misgivings as to how this will help.

What Food Can Detox My Body from Drugs: Is food enough?

The first thing we need to emphasize is that a “food detox” alone is not a sufficient enough strategy to treat any real substance use disorder. Without medical detox to provide support for adverse health effects, or to monitor in the event of new complications, it can be dangerous.

In fact, there are many substances, including alcohol, that have incredibly dangerous withdrawal symptoms. Some are even potentially fatal. So to rely on a clean, strict diet as the only means of detoxing the body from the effects of drugs or alcohol is an unnecessary risk.

Without the therapeutic assistance and support of addiction specialists, it can be an incredibly stressful and overwhelming process. While some aspects of a healthier diet can help gradually clear the mental fog, that alone is still not enough to deal with co-occurring issues like:

We will talk about some foods that can help, but we also want to let it be known to anyone who may read this that a better diet isn’t going to solve the problem.

What Food Can Detox My Body From Drugs: Diet tips that may help detox

Detox is often a different experience depending on the individual. The kind of drugs you used and for how long will determine the kind of damage the body has to bounce back from. Food is not a complete plan for a safe detox and should always just be one aspect of a comprehensive recovery plan.

Still, we want to include a few kinds of food that can aid in the comfort level and progress of detoxing from drugs. Fruits and vegetables are huge and pretty much all are helpful, but here are a few examples.

  1. Water

Ok, so it may not be a “food” as much as a beverage, but it is essential to life in general. Experts do suggest that 9-12 glasses of water a day can help clear the kidneys and liver of built up toxins.

For an added bonus- include lemon. According to the World Health Organization, citrus fruits are rich in the antioxidant de-limonene, a powerful compound in the peel that stimulates the enzymes in the liver to help flush toxins from the body.

  1. Tumeric

Curcumin, a compound derived from the bright-orange spice Tumeric, works as a powerful anti-inflammatory in the liver. A study in the journal Gut states that enhancing you diet with curcumin could significantly reduce bile duct blockage and limit scarring (fibrosis) by interfering with the chemical reactions of the inflammatory process.

Some research trials have also suggested Tumeric can be used as an anti-depressant. A recent study published in the journal Phytotherapy Research with 60 volunteers diagnosed with major depressive disorder (MDD), such as manic depression, showed that patients found cucumin as effective as Prozac for managing depression.

While there are very few human studies, this research was the first clinical evidence to suggest Tumeric could be used in this capacity.

  1. Asparagus

This green vegie (great with a side of steak) is not only credited as a hangover cure, but the amino acids and minerals in asparagus may also protect liver cells against toxins. This natural diuretic is said to also flush the excess toxins from your system.

  1. Beets

Yes, even these roots are great detoxifying foods. Beets contain a type of antioxidant called betalains that help repair and regenerate cells in the liver. You may notice you keep seeing the liver as a repeat customer on the list. That is because the liver is the body’s primary detox organ, so any food like beets that provides it with extra support can help ease through cleansing the body.

  1. Almonds

Again, this one is all about fixing up the liver. According to a recent study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, researchers found a clear connection between increased vitamin E intake and a decrease in liver cancer risk.

In a study the participants who consumed the most vitamin E in almonds, which came to about 15 almonds, displayed a 40% lower risk of liver cancer than those who consumed less.

  1. Sunflower Seeds

While these can be substituted for almonds as a good source of fiber, they also provide a decent dose of magnesium. This mineral keeps blood pressure normal, maintains steady heart rhythm. Many drugs can do some serious wear and tear on the heart and blood pressure, so in the process of trying to regulate these while detoxing, sunflower seeds can do some good.

  1. Protein

Since there are those who are opposed to any meat, we won’t pretend meat is the only source of protein. However, given the amount of stress the addicts body can experience, protein is big on helping repair tissues and cells while restoring organs. Go with fish and chicken, or go vegie with stuff like

  • Nuts
  • Quinoa
  • Rice and Beans
  • Hummus

You can also look for more natural protein supplements.

  1. Healthy Fats

Fish, nuts, avocados and certain oils contain fats that can help satiate the body. They’re also high in Omega 3. This fatty acid is believed to not only help avoid feelings of depression, but some also say it relieves the cravings associated with addiction.

  1. Seaweed and Algae

Now you may be thinking- wait, these are food?

Yes, and they are a powerhouse supply of good stuff for a detoxing body. They are rich in a source of nutrients and antioxidants, including:

  • Zinc
  • Iron
  • Vitamin B, C and E

They fight inflammation and damage to tissues caused by free radicals. Seaweed and algae are also rich in:

  • Protein and amino acids that help the body to fight infections
  • Fiber that encourages the growth of good bacteria in the gut while maintaining bowel regularity and removes toxins and fats from the body

They also help detox our body by protecting the liver from toxic damage. Seaweed and algae are a good source of:

  • Iodine, which is essential for metabolism
  • Magnesium and potassium which protect blood vessels and fight the effect of stress

Nutrients in seaweed and algae also support the health of adrenal glands, which can suffer constant stress, resulting in chronic fatigue, mood changes and damaging the immune system. Seaweed and algae do a lot of amazing stuff for a detoxing body.

What Food Can Detox My Body From Drugs: The Best Way?

Again, there is a great deal of good a more balanced and healthy diet can do when recovering from substance abuse. The above list provides a few examples of some great additions to your diet while trying to build better physical health.

Yet, it is important to remind the reader that food in itself is not the best way to detox the body from drugs.

Drug addiction is a very complex disorder, and it impacts the individual in unique and devastating ways. While a strong diet may help with comfort through the detox period, the body and the mind will typically need much more support. A safe medical detox, complete with a clinical staff and therapeutic support, is best for building a foundation for holistic healing. Empowering the body by being nourished is a big bonus. A safe medical detox facility should provide a balanced and supported diet while helping the individual with any needed medications and other support.

Addiction treatment centers like Palm Partners that recognize the important nutrition plays health living, and in addition to addiction treatment we use this knowledge to help clients not only to sustain a healthy recovery but also a healthy mind and body. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free now.

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How to Detox from Drugs at Home

How to Detox from Drugs at Home

(This content is being used for illustrative purposes only; any person depicted in the content is a model)

Author: Justin Mckibben

When it comes to overcoming a serious drug addiction it is crucial to start your recovery strong and with a healthy and stable foundation. Long lasting and sustainable sobriety often means consistent work on not just healing physically, but also psychologically. After-all, drugs and alcohol are not the only symptom to addiction; it is often far deeper than the surface.

So when it comes to the question many people may ask- how to detox from drugs at home- the best answer we can think of is pretty straight forward… just don’t.

You may wonder why, especially if you think it is all just a matter of white-knuckled will-power to get through the initial shock to the system that comes without the substance. Maybe you are a parent or family member who just wants to help your loved one any way you can.

However, the truth is that trying to detox at home isn’t just an unnecessary risk, it can also be incredibly dangerous or even life threatening.

How to Detox from Drugs at Home: Withdrawals

Due to the withdrawals, which can go from modern to overwhelming, many people want to find a way to detox comfortably. Therefore, many people trying to figure out how to detox from drugs at home do so because they want to avoid the physical discomfort while still working towards getting clean.

Then depending on pre-existing conditions or adverse health effects of drug abuse, there can be other medical complications during the detox process that most cannot diagnose or treat at home.

There are also drugs that are so potent and damaging that if someone tries to detox at home “cold turkey” they may do far greater harm to the body and vital organs. Some drug withdrawals can actually kill. If you are to ask how to detox from drugs at home with a primary concern about withdrawals, it is probably not a good idea in the first place.

How to Detox from Drugs at Home: Maintenance Drugs

The physical dependence on the substance that develops from extended use and increased tolerance can be a nightmare. The detox process can be incredibly difficult for most people. Some people have used medication maintenance programs like methadone or Suboxone to try and get off illicit drugs, but often times these methods are also unsustainable in the long-term. Usually, these medications also have side-effects of their own.

Suboxone, for example, is often used as a maintenance drug for opioid addiction. The problem is, there is a lot about Suboxone that most people don’t know.

If you want to read more download our free E-book “5 Things No One Tells You about Suboxone”

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With methadone people find themselves visiting a clinic to receive doses of a maintenance drug that has become infamous for its own horrible withdrawal symptoms.

In the end, recovery experts consistently insist that these drugs are only really useful when accompanied by cognitive behavioral therapy or comprehensive addiction treatment.

How to Detox from Drugs at Home: Relapse Prevention

Another crucial part of drug detox that a lot of people forget about is the importance of relapse prevention. While most people think of detox as just the first stages of trying to get clean, the reality is that there is still an incredibly high chance for someone trying to detox at home of relapsing. Not just because they aren’t removed from the environment in a secure facility, but also because they are struggling with withdrawal while also not getting the strong support and treatment.

Truthfully, most addiction treatment professionals and experts agree that detox should always be done with the supervision and support of medical professionals. Behavioral therapy and other forms of treatment are also critical components of shaping the foundation for recovery from drugs and alcohol. Beyond medication or even natural remedies to combat withdrawal, people also need to develop coping skills to prevent relapse.

Instead, Choose Safe Medical Detox

It is true there are cases of some detox attempts done from home, but at the end of the day it is still an unnecessary level of discomfort and risk. Because people do also die from trying to detox from dangerous drugs at home. There is no need to kick and scream on the couch when there are so many resources that provide safe medical detox.

Ultimately, the specific substance, the length of use and the severity/frequency of use will determine how difficult the detox process will be. A combination of volatile substances can also create a whole new danger.

So instead of giving you a list of supplies, which will be incomplete or insufficient, or giving you a few cliff notes on how to detox from drugs at home, we thought it was important to stress why event though it may be ‘possible’ it can also be harmful, and in the end can even be counterproductive.

The Palm Partners detox facility has a 24-hour medical and addiction professional staff to continuously evaluate individual progress, administer the appropriate levels of medications and provide unlimited support during this process. Our highly qualified specialists genuinely strive to make recovery possible for everyone who needs help. If your or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free.

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Is Suboxone Safe?

Is Suboxone Safe?

Author: Justin Mckibben

Suboxone is a medication meant to treat opiate and opioid withdrawal. It is one of two forms of the medication buprenorphine, which is an opiate agonist originally developed to treat pain problems. Suboxone works by binding to opiate receptors in the brain, which are the same receptors that morphine, heroin and other opiates bind to.

Is Suboxone Safe: How Suboxone Works

In order to better understand the risks of Suboxone use, it is important to understand how this medication works. Let us be clear, Suboxone is a narcotic. It is a semi-synthetic opioid made from a combination of two drugs:

  1. Buprenorphine

This compound is intended for the treatment of pain, as well as for combating opioid addiction. However, what many people don’t realize it that buprenorphine is itself an opioid.

DEA reports show that the substance can be 20-30 times more potent than morphine as an analgesic; like morphine buprenorphine can create a dose-related euphoria. Like other opioids commonly abuse, buprenorphine is capable of producing a significant “high” and thus has been abused in various ways.

Now, all products containing buprenorphine are controlled substances. Given the nature of this powerful opioid, the other primary compound of Suboxone is added.

  1. Naloxone

Naloxone is a pure opioid antagonist medication used to block the effects of opioids. It works by reversing the depression of the central nervous system and respiratory system. Narcan is a brand name for the medication that is commonly utilized as an overdose antidote.

But beyond being used to reverse overdoses, the addition of naloxone to products like Suboxone is with the intention of blocking the euphoric high resulting from the abuse of opioids by injection, like buprenorphine.

So when a drug like Suboxone is taken orally, just the opioid has affect. Naloxone blocks the impact of the opioid when it is injected. The primary purpose of naloxone in Suboxone is to deter intravenous abuse.

Is Suboxone Safe: How is it used?

Suboxone acts as a partial opioid agonist and diminishes cravings as well as prevents other opioids from reacting to the brain’s receptors. The drug has become a frequently utilized substance for trying to combat opioid addiction. Suboxone can come in tablet form, or in the form of a film taken sublingually, meaning dissolved under the tongue.

When taken orally or sublingually as directed, the naloxone is not absorbed and the buprenorphine acts uninhibited. However, the formulation still has potential for abuse. Published data has shown that the opioid receptor’s binding affinity to buprenorphine is higher, so the opioid typically overrides the antagonist, causing many reports to argue that naloxone is an insufficient deterrent for the injection of Suboxone for recreational abuse.

Serious dangers of Suboxone

While Suboxone may have become a mainstream tactic for combating opioid addiction, the question has become if it is as safe and effective as producers would have us believe. So when presented with the question of ‘is Suboxone safe?’ must look at a few factors.

Is Suboxone Safe: Adverse side-effects

The fact remains that Suboxone is an opioid narcotic. Therefore, the side-effects of Suboxone are essentially the same as other opioids.

Most common minor side-effects include:

  • Headache
  • Mild dizziness
  • Numbness
  • Drowsiness
  • Insomnia
  • Stomach pain
  • Constipation
  • Vomiting
  • Redness, pain or numbness in the mouth
  • Trouble concentrating

Most common major side-effects include:

  • Cough or hoarseness
  • Feeling faint or lightheaded
  • Feeling of warmth or heat
  • Fever or chills
  • Lower back or side pain
  • Sweating
  • Painful or difficult urination

Major side-effects suggest the individual should check with their doctor immediately.

Is Suboxone Safe: Withdrawal symptoms

The irony is that Suboxone is typically used because people are trying to stop abusing other illicit or prescription opioids but want to have something to curb the withdrawal symptoms. Yet, Suboxone is known to have its own withdrawals, and for some they are even worse.

Symptoms of Suboxone withdrawal can include:

  • Body and muscle aches
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Depression
  • Insomnia
  • Anxiety
  • Irritability
  • Drug cravings
  • Lethargy
  • Digestive distress
  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Sweating
  • Headache

The physical withdrawals can peak in the first 72 hours after the last dose, and some of the more psychological symptoms can last much longer.

Is Suboxone Safe: Interactions with other drugs

Taking other drugs while on Suboxone, especially other opioids or sedatives, can actually be fatal. Combining Suboxone with other drugs can cause a very dangerous reactions that many also ignore. Drugs that are particularly dangerous with Suboxone are:

  • Benzodiazepines (Benzos) such as Xanax
  • Older Antihistamines
  • Antipsychotics such as Zyprexa
  • Alcohol

Cocaine is also an extremely hazardous drug to combine with Suboxone because they are opposites on the spectrum of stimulant vs depressant. When you combine cocaine with Suboxone, it actually reduces the amount of buprenorphine that is in your bloodstream. With less buprenorphine in the body the effects of opioid withdrawal symptoms can be felt.
Combining cocaine with Suboxone also increases the risk of overdosing on cocaine.

If you would like more information on Suboxone, download our free E-book: 5 Things No One Tells You about Suboxone.

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Is Suboxone safe?

Suboxone may be a legal and popular alternative to some other opioids, but that doesn’t necessarily make it all that ‘safe’ to rely on. It is of course possible to overdose on Suboxone. As we said before, Suboxone combined with other drugs can also be incredibly dangerous. And at the end of the day, you can still become psychically and psychologically dependent on the drug.

In truth, Suboxone has been useful to some who have tried to get off of drugs like heroin and other dangerous opioids by providing a buffer and some method of harm reduction. But the often overlooked aspect is that Suboxone is only intended for short-term use and not long-term maintenance. When individuals use the substance for long periods of time, they become dependent on it just like any other potent narcotic. Experts insist that Suboxone and similar drugs are only effective in combination with comprehensive treatment or cognitive behavioral therapy.

For more information, read our

A safer and far more healthy and sustainable approach to recovery from opioid addiction is with holistic treatment that offers much more than an opioid substitute with its own adverse effects. If you or someone you love is struggling, please call toll-free now. We want to help.

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Why are Insurance Companies Focusing on Maintenance Drugs?

Why are Insurance Companies Focusing on Maintenance Drugs?

(This content is being used for illustrative purposes only; any person depicted in the content is a model)

Author: Justin Mckibben

Addiction is not an easy problem to address. It is a complex issue with many variables, so of course there is no simple answer to fix it. There is no one-size-fits-all solution; no monopoly on the right kind of treatment. It is understandable that there is a degree of effectiveness with utilizing any medical means available to try and address addiction, but are maintenance drugs really the answer?

Surely medication assisted treatment is useful, and it helps a lot of people. Most inpatient treatment programs utilize some form of medication to ease withdrawal symptoms and other side-effects of long-term drug use. The detox period of treatment usually focuses on medically assisting someone struggling with drugs in this transition.

However, is getting people off of one drug by making them dependent on another really the best case scenario? It seems now insurance companies are putting more effort into using maintenance drugs to treat addiction. Is this really a better strategy?

Maintenance Drugs

Firstly, let us make a clear definition of what maintenance drugs are. Typically, the definition of maintenance drugs is along the lines of prescriptions commonly used to treat conditions that are considered chronic or long-term. These conditions usually require regular, daily use of medicines.

Examples of common maintenance drugs are medications such as:

  • Fluticasone and salmeterol (Advair Diskus) which is used to treat asthma
  • Insulin glargine (Lantus) used to treat diabetes

If you consider these examples the point is that people use these medications to “manage” their illness, not to overcome or remedy it. So looking at the issue of addiction, there are some well-known maintenance drugs, specifically concerning opioid addiction.

These medications can be effective, but they also present a level of danger themselves. Even though doctors prescribe them to combat withdrawals, they actually can create their own devastating withdrawals, especially with long term use.

Aetna Aims for Maintenance Drugs

Aetna is one of the nation’s largest insurance companies. In a recent Aetna report, the company is prepared to remove a major restriction for patients seeking maintenance drugs for opioid addiction. The change is set to begin this coming March. Aetna is the third major health insurer to announce such a shift in policy in recent months, now in league with Anthem and Cigna insurers.

To be more specific, this insurance company will stop requiring doctors to seek approval before they prescribe particular medications that are used to combat withdrawal symptoms. One of these medications is suboxone, a well-known medication that many people use to fight opiate addiction.

The common insurance practice is known as “prior authorization”. The reason they are seeking to eliminate this policy is because it sometimes results in delays of hours to days before a patient can get the medications.

This new approach to regulation of maintenance drugs impacts all its private insurance plans, an Aetna spokeswoman confirmed.

Advocates of Maintenance Drugs

Addiction treatment advocates to support having expanded access to maintenance drugs. Dr. Corey Waller, an emergency physician who chairs the American Society of Addiction Medicine’s legislative advocacy committee, states:

“It’s a first-line, Food and Drug Administration-approved therapy for a disease with a known mortality. [For] every other disease with a known mortality, the first-line drugs are available right away.”

Essentially, the idea that parity laws require insurers to cover addiction treatments at the same level as other kinds of healthcare means these kinds of medication should be available for immediate access. This should be the same for all forms of addiction treatment.

Opinion: Treatment over Maintenance

While many would argue that maintenance drugs are a form of treatment, it is still a relevant argument that maintenance drugs are also imperfect and could actually be harmful if they become the cookie-cutter answer implemented by most insurers.

While harm reduction is understandable, and maintenance drugs can help people struggling with heroin or other dangerous opioids avoid other serious risks, the fact is many maintenance drugs include their own side-effects. Some often become subject to abuse themselves.

For instance, suboxone can be useful as a harm reduction tactic, but it can also be abused. Many people who have used suboxone as a long-term solution have found themselves battling suboxone withdrawal symptoms. The dangers of suboxone are very relevant.

The same, if not worse, has often been said about methadone maintenance drugs. While they may keep someone alive to get treatment, there should still be a strong emphasis on treatment itself. Maintenance drugs are most effective when part of a program. They are not a substitute for a treatment program.

Treatment should focus on finding solutions, not prolonging the suffering. Drug and alcohol addiction treatment should come from a holistic approach that addresses more than just physical ailments. Holistic treatment focuses on providing extensive and personalized therapy, combined with physical and emotional heal. If insurance companies want to focus on combining rational medical resources with comprehensive treatment, then this could be a great thing. However, if the focus becomes a quick-fix drug option opposing a full recovery through treatment, it only adds to the danger.

Maintenance drugs have support from the recovery community, but typically they must be accompanied by therapy and other means of treatment. Maintenance drugs are just that- drugs. They are often powerful narcotics, and are true to their title- “maintenance,” not a permanent solution.

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